Our featured bloggers at Travel_Shutter ponder what it is about this magical island that captures travellers' hearts
Travellers from all over the world have been falling in love with Bali for many years and it’s easy to see why. For a small, touristic island, there is still a sense of chaos that is similar to other parts of South-East Asia. The mad and sometimes dangerous roads are the main example, but on the other hand, sitting in the middle of the rice fields, one can lose a sense of time and feel complete tranquility.
It’s this juxtaposition that made us fall completely head over heals for Bali. As well as the following four reasons.
Thailand is known as ‘The Land of Smiles’ but I personally think this accolade should go to Bali. We spent most of our time in Ubud; the second biggest tourist hub on the whole island. Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the island’s cultural heart every year and unlike some of the people we came across in destinations in other parts of South-East Asia, the people of Bali’s sense of curiosity hasn’t diminished.
The locals we encountered were always extremely friendly and hospitable. On numerous occasions we would be asked where we were from and whether we like Bali. One time while driving on a motorbike, one elderly man stopped us, greeted us with a big smile and warned that ‘the roads in Bali are extremely dangerous’ and we should ‘be careful’.
I feel that it was the friendliness we received from the locals that made us feel welcome, relaxed and therefore more comfortable taking photographs.
Going to the temple is still a huge part of everyday life in Bali. The Balinese celebrate many religious festivals and different areas of the island celebrate at different times. Therefore if you travel around the island regularly, you will always encounter people dressed in their best clothes holding offerings and burning incense as they make their way towards the temple.
As long as you are dressed appropriately, it is acceptable for a traveller to watch as the celebrations within the temple takes place. They are great places to capture colour and mood due to the locals’ attire and the constant smoke from the incense.
The rice fields of Bali are a place where one can feel complete tranquillity. You really get a sense that time has stopped as you watch workers using traditional farming methods that haven’t changed for hundreds of years. The rice fields are a great place to take natural and timeless photos but it’s the little things that the camera can’t capture that make the rice fields so unforgettable.
For me it was the sounds more then anything that made the rice fields so special. The constant sound of flowing water, the insects buzzing everywhere but mostly the music and the prayers that the workers played themselves. The sounds of traditional instruments playing before a preacher that echoed throughout the fields. Yes, the rice fields are a magical place.
Spending just over three weeks visiting the island, we realised that there is so much more to discover then just rice fields and beaches. Lake Batur located towards the East side of the island, was a real find. Situated next to an active volcano, the landscape is very beautiful and still.
The little villages positioned on narrow plots of land often spilled out towards the lake, which just adds to the beautiful landscape. It was also a great place to witness life in a place less populated by tourists. We saw fishermen preparing their latest catch, kids playing and women washing their clothes in the lake.
Of course, no trip to Bali would be complete without visiting one of the surfing capitals of the world and we felt obliged to visit Kuta Beach for at least for one night.
We were lucky as we witnessed a stunning sunset over the beach. We watched as the local surfers practised in front of an early evening sky as local children innocently played in the sand.
That night, as we watched the sun fall behind the clouds, we contemplated our time spent on this magical island, the photos we had taken and the people we had encountered. Bali had inspired us and inspired us in a big way.
It had given us the confidence to write about everything we had experienced not just in Bali but also on the whole journey.
The friendly and hospitable people made us feel relaxed and comfortable enough to capture everything we saw around us on camera. We felt obliged to share our experiences with others, to inspire them in the same way we felt inspired and isn’t that the whole point of travel in the first place?
We are a backpacking couple continuously travelling since January 2013. We started Travel_Shutter in May 2013 as a way of showcasing some of the amazing places we had visited and share our photographs and travel diaries. Since then we have received some positive feedback from the blogging community, which has encouraged us to continue with the blog full time.